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'Legal highs' set to become illegal

There will be no legal loopholes for supply of psychoactive substances - know as legal highs - in Boston after May 26.

For on that date "legal highs" will become illegal highs with the introduction of new legislation.

The Psychoactive Substances Act will provide a blanket ban on the production, supply and importation of new psychoactive substances (NPS). This legislation will fundamentally change the way police tackle psychoactive substances and will make new drugs that appear on the market, illegal quicker than ever before.

Andy Morrice, Community Policing Inspector for the Boston area, said : "This new legislation is a very positive step forward. It highlights the Government's commitment to supporting law enforcement, including the police, in our efforts to combat dangerous drugs. A blanket ban on new psychoactive substances will make it simpler to deal with those drugs which are unsafe but may not yet be controlled. It will also make it easier to tackle so called 'legal highs' which may contain mixtures including already illegal drugs."

A variety of options exist in enforcing this legislation including prohibition notices, premises notices, prohibition orders and premises orders which allow police or local authorities to require people to stop stocking, selling or supplying psychoactive substances.  The public has been encouraged to let police forces know (eg via Crime Stoppers 0800 555 111) if they believe shops or establishments continue to supply psychoactive substances once the Act commences on 26 May 2016.

Officers have been given powers to stop and search people, vehicles and vessels, enter and search premises in accordance with a warrant, and to seize and destroy psychoactive substances.

While the new Act does not criminalise simple possession of psychoactive substances it will be an offence to posses them with intent to supply them to another.  It will also be an offence to import them (eg by buying them from a foreign website).

Insp Morrice said:"Police forces, Trading Standards, Border Forces and other organisations have been working hard to tackle the supply of controlled and non-controlled NPS. This new legislation will give us a full range of powers needed to prevent the harm caused by psychoactive substances."

Operations have been taking place across the country to raise awareness of changes to the law.  Head shop owners and other suppliers have been given time to adapt to the new laws and stop the trading of these potentially-dangerous drugs.

Forces are committed to reducing the harm caused by all drugs and welcome an educational and preventative approach in the policing of psychoactive substances.

Illegal drugs such as cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy will continue to be controlled by the misuse of drugs act.